Lessing’s work covers a multitude of genres and lends itself to a rich variety of critical approaches. This richness of output and approach has been well covered by the Society’s varied and stimulating programming for its two annual sessions at the Modern Languages Association (MLA) Convention. Comparative programs like “The Transgressive Impulse in Doris Lessing, Margaret Atwood and Mary Shelley” (2000) have been balanced by those focusing on genre like “Breaking Down Boundaries: Doris Lessing and Autobiography” (1998). Specific critical approaches like “Doris Lessing and Cultural Studies” (1997) are represented as well as more thematic approaches like “Doris Lessing’s Settlement Narratives” (1998). Since the MLA cut the number of Allied Associations’ guaranteed panels down from two to one, the Doris Lessing Society has responded successfully to the challenge to collaborate with other Allied Societies in order to submit proposals for nonguaranteed second sessions. We have worked with the Virginia Woolf Society and the Margaret Atwood Society to have second sessions accepted in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and have plans to reach out to other Allied Associations including the D.H. Lawrence Society of North America and the Simone de Beauvoir Society for future collaborations. We welcome queries from other Allied Associations about working with us at the MLA (click here for Society contact information).
The Doris Lessing sessions at the MLA have provided a forum for scholars all over the world: Sweden, France, Spain, South Africa, Taiwan, Zimbabwe, UK, and Israel as well as the United States and Canada. Graduate students, independent scholars, junior and senior academics, and professors are all welcome to submit proposals (for calls for papers and submission information, click here).
The MLA also provides the setting for the Doris Lessing Society’s Annual General Meeting. The date, time and location of this meeting are emailed to the membership listserv and posted in the “Latest” section on the home page of this website in advance of each MLA Convention. These details are also announced at the Society’s sessions at the MLA. Although this is where the Society gets its business done, it is also an enjoyable social occasion. New and potential members are also welcome to attend.
You can learn more about the Modern Language Association here.